Updated: May 13, 2022
Deciding to become a nurse is highly commendable. Nursing is not an easy career path to choose, but it is hugely rewarding despite the potential for stress. As with any job, one of the primary reasons for selecting it is to earn money while putting your talents to good use. There are many steps you will need to follow in order to become a fully trained and qualified nurse, such as education, getting a license, and finding a job.
Know Your Reasons
Since nursing is such a tough job, the people who go into it need to be convinced that it is the right career for them. From the perspective of a patient, having a nurse who isn't committed to the job and isn’t in it for the right reasons is unpleasant, as this will likely come across in their treatment. From the perspective of the nurse, going to the effort of training and studying only to find that your interests lie elsewhere can be disheartening. Before considering your career in nursing, imagine your future self and the lifestyle you will lead as a qualified nurse. If this life appeals to you, nursing could be the right choice.
Gain the Right Qualifications
Nurses must be appropriately educated in order to practice. You can find different nursing programs to suit your needs where you can gain the relevant qualifications for proceeding with your career choice. It's important to know exactly which qualifications you will need in order to practice in your location.
Learn Study Techniques
During your time as a nursing student, you will need to retain a lot of important information and recall it when required. This will become a vital skill once you are working as a qualified nurse. To do this, you should pick up some study techniques that work to enhance your memory and help you connect your ideas together.
Learn about the forgetting curve and how to overcome it.
Take advantage of flashcards for remembering chunks of information.
Write concise and relevant notes in a way you can easily understand when you read over them at a later date.
Improve your time management in order to plan your studies efficiently.
Try to explain concepts to your friends. It can be surprisingly effective to be forced into rewording ideas, theories, and facts in a way other people can understand.
Building a strong study habit will help you to become a more confident and competent nurse at the end of your education. The more you learn as a student nurse, the better placed you will be to find employment later on.
Don't Forget Soft Skills
While knowledge and practical ability are vital in a good nurse, soft skills are just as important. Nurses need to be compassionate and empathetic when interacting with patients and coworkers. Soft skills involve good communication and leadership, where you can make decisions and implement them effectively while collaborating as part of a team. They also involve having a strong work ethic where you are willing to put in the effort required for the best outcomes and the ability to solve problems with flexibility.
Before you become a fully qualified nurse, take any chance you can to volunteer in a relevant setting. The experience you gain from hands-on opportunities will be hugely valuable to you going forward. You can even search for volunteering opportunities overseas to broaden your worldview before finding more permanent employment. Make sure to stay open to new opportunities and connect with people from all walks of life. One of the most important skills for a nurse to possess is patience, and this can be cultivated by embracing a varied perspective.
Manage Stressful Times
The process of becoming a nurse is stressful, as is finally working as one. Being able to manage your stress levels, anticipate stressful situations, and adapt to chaos are essential for your mental well-being within this career. Here are just a few ways you can manage your stress while training and working as a nurse:
One of the most valuable traits to hone is resilience. Nurses witness all kinds of conditions and must be able to protect their ability to work by overcoming some of the troubling aspects of the job. Resilience can be practiced and increased over time with various techniques.
Build a support network you can rely on during tough times. This could include a partner, your family, friends, and other trainee nurses. Stress can be alleviated by unburdening yourself of the painful emotions.
Develop a routine for coping with stress. Not every stressful situation has a solution, and when these times arise, you will need to be able to sit with the discomfort and let it pass.
Speak to Existing Nurses
Reach out to people who are already working as nurses to find out more about the variety of experiences you might encounter. Hearing from people a few steps ahead on the career path can be hugely inspiring and serve to remind you of all the reasons you want to make this rewarding journey.